Late last week, the following tweet showed up in my timeline…
— #BCEd Watch (@BCEdWatch) October 17, 2014
Knowing that Sept 19 was the Friday preceding the Monday that classes started, I knew that the day would be filled with both relief and more than a little trepidation for the vast majority of teachers, I clicked through and was disappointed to see that SD73 was on the list of districts that were not paying teachers for the day.
The differences in pay for September 19 between districts is a result of differing language in different districts. Each district has a variation of one of two formulae for paying teachers who do not work for a full month.
- Some districts deduct 1/200th of a teacher’s annual salary for each day not worked in a month (a full year is considered to be 200 teaching days, and each month is considered to be 20 teaching days).
- Other districts pay for each day that is actually worked.
Those districts who deduct pay for days not worked calculate that teachers did not work for 13 days in September (2, 3, 4, 5, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 15, 16, 17, 18) leaving 7 days to be paid out (20-13=7).
Those who pay for days worked calculate that teachers worked 8 days (19, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 29, 30).
In both scenarios, says BCPSEA, teachers are paid correctly, and in both cases, teachers are paid for September 19.
But why is there a difference?
The difference is the result of September 2014 having 21 days that would normally have been teaching days (although all teachers would normally have been paid for 20). So those districts who deduct pay for days not worked are working from the short end of the stick, while those who pay for days worked, are working from the long end of the stick.
Under normal circumstances, this extra, ‘unpaid’ work day is inconsequential. But September 2014 is just about the furthest thing from normal circumstances in BC public schools.
My view, and the view of several districts which would normally deduct pay, but have decided to pay for the 8 days worked, is that the extraordinary circumstances of September 2014 should trump the ‘correct’ calculation and should lead all districts to receive enough funding to pay all teachers for 8 days in September.
The beginning to this school year should be a time to build bridges of trust and respect, not to use contract language to create inequities.
September 19 by Colin Madland is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.